Allowing employees to work remotely offers a number of benefits for businesses. Surveys have shown that employees who work from home report a 25% reduction in their stress levels, with 86% of telecommuters also claiming that they are more productive in their home office. Meanwhile, remote working can also benefit employers by saving them money on property costs and office supplies by ensuring there are fewer in-house employees to account for.
If you'd consider adopting this growing trend, invest the time in properly preparing your team—and your facility—for the coming changes.
Communicate clear guidelines around accountability
Recently, major companies like Yahoo! and Reddit quashed work-from-home policies because they believe the practice negatively impacts collaboration and productivity company-wide. The leaked Yahoo! memo that announced the ban claimed, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home." The truth is that by its very nature, remote work does present a number of challenges—but to dismiss it entirely as a possibility can also prove problematic, as it suggests a distrust of your own workforce.
The key to instigating a remote work policy is to develop a smart and strategic plan that ensures productivity and efficiency won’t fall by the wayside. The first step is to clearly communicate the company’s policy around remote working. Establish clear rules and processes that must be followed and be vigilant in monitoring your employees’ progress—especially in the early stages of roll out. For instance, set clear expectations for work hours that take into account time zones and hold all remote employees accountable for their goals and deadlines.
Today, access to analytics data is at your fingertips. By using a tool such as Microsoft Workplace Analytics, you can gain insight to employees' productivity, efficiency and behavioral patterns—no matter where they’re working from.
Offer cloud-based software solutions
If your company is still operating in the dark ages and using outdated hardware, now is the time to update your processes. For remote workers, using cloud-based technologies and mobile-friendly software is a must. Cloud-based software tools like Google Drive, Dropbox and Asana offer the flexibility and accessibility that remote teams require. Your remote employees will be able to access and share information across multiple devices, no matter where they are in the world.
Additionally, these new technologies offer an answer to industry concerns regarding cybersecurity. By implementing cloud technologies, employees are issued a secure access point to company data and applications, so employers can retain peace of mind knowing that their company’s precious assets are stored safely and securely.
Provide the right tools
Before sending your employees out into the remote working world, ensure your facility is set up to handle a whole new way of working. Employees who remain in the office full-time will need modern tools and technologies to connect with the remote workforce. This means installing large displays in conference rooms, establishing call conferencing solutions and even looking into augmented and virtual reality options. Investing in the best-of-the-best communication technologies will ensure your remote team can collaborate as if they were sitting right next to each other.
In addition to tools your employees will use to conduct their work, a desk booking tool is key to ensuring a smooth transition for your remote workforce—just because remote workers spend most days away from the office, it doesn’t mean they won’t need an in-office workspace from time-to-time. Additionally, communication tools like Slack, Workplace by Facebook or Microsoft Teams are vital for connecting employees across different regions. In order for these tools to be used effectively however, it is crucial you invest the time in properly training your entire workforce on the new technologies’ functionalities.
The opportunity to work remotely has proven to be an important job fringe benefit, with 25% of surveyed employees claiming they would accept a reduction in salary in order to continue working remotely. Therefore, employers need to know exactly what this policy entails. The key to a successful implementation of a remote work policy is a strong strategy, clear communication and the ability to trust in the commitment and tenacity of your workforce. The benefits of working remotely extend to both the employee and employer, so it makes sense for companies to make every effort to ensure a seamless adoption of this exciting new way to do business.
Article by Zoe North, OfficeSpace